I’ll start with a caveat: I’m still learning the ropes when it comes to creating and editing videos, so please take the info. in this post as a starting point only.
Onward! Okay these the tools I use:
- KLM microphone
- Action! video capture
- Corel Draw X8 for any precise graphics
- Good old Paint for quick and dirty graphics
- Corel VideoStudio Pro 2021 for video editing
- The microphone: Before I started doing voice overs, I did some research online and found all sorts of stuff about how to set up an area for audio recording. I also read up on the kind of equipment you would need. In the end, I bought the cheapest microphone Amazon had to offer – it was on sale – and I try to record when there’s no background noise [Offspring puttering around in the kitchen, dog barking, cat wanting to be fed etc]. That’s it. Not professional quality but…good enough.
- Video capture software: I love Action! because I own it outright – no recurring subscription fees – and it’s sophisticated enough to allow me to take good quality footage. Plus it was relatively cheap.
- I’ve owned and used Corel Draw X8 for a very long time. It’s a great program and I love it.
- Windows Paint has been around for a very long time too, and it’s perfect for quickly resizing a screenshot, or adding some arrows and labels, or cropping out the bits I don’t want. And it’s free. Can’t argue with that.
- And now to Corel VideoStudio Pro 2021…. I don’t love it. Keep reading and I’ll tell you why.
Before buying the VideoStudio editor, I tried out a number of editors, but not the Corel one. So it was an impulse buy based on Corel being a trusted brand… and it was on sale. I had trouble from the start. Installing the software and getting it to run ate up days of frustration and online searching. Once I had it running, I had trouble learning it because, although it looks pretty, the interface is weirdly unintuitive. It’s also inconsistent. It’s supposed to be great for beginners but I had trouble learning it. I’ll leave it at that.
One thing I do like is the ability to edit multiple tracks, which look something like this:
Once I have captured the actual video with Action!, I import it into VideoStudio and drag it to what’s called the ‘timeline’. The timeline can include all the tracks shown in the screenshot.
The first track to go on the timeline has to be the video track [for me]. This is my raw material. Once it’s on the timeline, I can snip out the bits I don’t like to get an overall feel for the length of the finished video and what I want/must present in that time.
The overlay track is where I place still images, or even snippets of video, that will create a ‘picture-in-a-picture’ effect. In the example above, my self portrait and the pic of Warrandyte both overlaid the video going on in the background.
Narration was always going to be important in my videos so it really helps that I can create short bits of voice-over [usually about one sentence worth] which can then be positioned at the precise locations that fit the visual narrative.
And finally there’s the music. I included music in the how-to video to provide continuity, but also to get rid of the ‘dead air’ you get in-between bits of voice-over. Essentially this dead air is the non-sound you get when the microphone is not recording. It’s quite disturbing when you first hear it. A very, very soft music track in the background just smooths the transitions from one audio clip to the next. If I could record everything in one hit, I wouldn’t need that smoothing, but I simply couldn’t do it, no matter how hard I tried. Ums, ahs, oops, coughs, and other gremlins would always creep in, even when I scripted what I wanted to say. It’s actually a lot easier deleting a blooper and re-recording a single sentence than trying to do Hamlet without a break. 😉
So that’s what I’ve learned to-date. I would recommend the KLM microphone and Action!. I would not recommend VideoStudio Pro 2021. That said, I would advise you to buy a video editor that is sophisticated enough to offer multiple tracks, including voice over, and does it without any fuss or bother. Do I know of one? No, but perhaps people will chime in, in comments.